As the effects of harmattan season intensify, the Ebonyi State Fire Services said it had 96 fire calls in 2019 and warned residents to abide by fire safety tips to ensure the protection of lives and properties in 2020.
The State Director of Fire Service, Mr. Raphael Eseni gave the advice in Abakaliki during an interview with newsmen and called for caution to reduce fire disaster occurrences in the state in the new year 2020.
Mr. Raphael Eseni regrettably disclosed that the Command recorded 96 fire incidents between January and December 2019 which were caused by indiscriminate bush burning and electricity surge, destroyed properties worth millions when estimated.
He cautioned the public to take safety tips seriously such as procuring fire extinguisher, clearing of bushes around their homes and avoid cooking with gas cylinder inside their kitchens because the extreme weather condition triggers fire and regretted that 6 new fire incidents have already been recorded within the first week of January 2020.
The Fire official also said other measures to include prompt fire calls and switching off electrical appliances in offices and homes when not in use.
He called for prompt information to the command for prompt rescue actions, lament attacks on firefighters in the state during their response operations in some areas like Ogbe Hausa and described such act as inappropriate.
He noted that closure of roadside gas shops sited in residential areas has commenced for safety purposes following the expiration of the grace period.
Mr. Eseni said, “We had 96 fire calls in 2019. So regrettably we started the first day of this New Year with fire disaster and we have recorded 6 fire incidents in the first week of 2020. The Fire incidents affected residential story buildings and Church which was caused mostly by bush fire and transformer faults. The one that happened at Grace of God Mission church CAS was caused by a bush fire. The one at Enugu expressway which occurred in a company, even that of Nkaliki hatchery were caused by bush burning.”
“So am pleading with the public, please clear your surroundings. Because even if it is fenced, fire can still find its way into the company if it has overgrown grass. Hunters are also advised to stop the use bush burning tactics in harmattan seasons as its negative effects have outnumbered the usefulness.”
“People should clear the grasses in their undeveloped plots of land and switch off generating sets before pouring fuel. Smokers should also be mindful of how they discard their cigarette or Indian hemp left over to avoid igniting fire. People using fireworks (knock out)are not left out of the warning.” the Director warned.